StarCraft Area (51)
Comfy chairs and couches are arranged invitingly about this spacious lounge; a thick llama-fur rug promises to keep feet warm in the chilly evenings. To the left is a cozy-looking hearth, complete with grates for klah pitchers and the obligatory firelizard perch. Various tables and cabinets line the opposite wall, the entire area generously supplied with an array of large glowbaskets to provide ample light for the study and hard work that must certainly occur here. On the far wall, a pair of arched doorways, heavily curtained, lead to the crafters' sleeping quarters--a simple dormitory for apprentices, and private quarters for ranking crafters.

Dimming glows light the work area where Linora sits, hunched over one of the worktables, hides spread all about. Long moments pass with no movement whatsoever. Studying? There's hardly adequate light for any type of work. Perhaps she's sleeping after all.

Rathan slips into the Starcraft area, eyes darting around to room as he searches to see if he's alone. Nope, doesn't look quite like it, and because of it, he begins to slip around one side of the room, staying as close to the wall as possible. No reason to draw attention to himself. Through the dim light, he realizes just who is there and quietly slips over toward the table. Once there, he just stands and watches her.

Linora's head droops lower, lower... until finally the pressure of her chin on her hand becomes too great. Just before her face hits her work, she snaps upright, shaking her head and rubbing at her temples. Taking a deep breath, she gets her eyes open at last, sighing at the lack of light and the amount of work left unfinished. And the shadow across the table. Shadow? She turns quickly, half afraid it's Keris standing there watching her, but smiling to see Rathan instead. Nevermind that little flush on her cheeks. "Oh, hey." Her voice is rough from weariness, and she slumps back in her chair with another little sigh.

Rathan smiles as he watches her slowly falling asleep. No doubt in just a minute he'll see the famous head snap, and there it is. He lets out a soft laugh as he watches her jerk awake, quickly stiffling it as he smiles back at her. "Hey yourself," he says softly as he pulls a chair closer and sits down next to her. "Does Keris work you that hard?"

The flush deepens slightly, but in this light it's probably hard to tell. Linora shrugs a little. "Not Keris really," she admits. "I only got so much time t'get it all done, if I don't wanna be here all /next/ winter too." She can't suppress a little shiver; whether it's from the remembered chill or simply being overtired might not be clear though. "I guess I kinda lost track of the time, though." Lin obviously hasn't lost her gift for stating the blazingly obvious. She rubs her eyes, then turns to look up at him. "What've you been up to?"

Rathan grins again as he listens. "But I thought you liked it here. Why wouldn't you want to stay another winter?" he asks teasingly as he looks at the table, then around the room. "And how can you possibly see anything in here, much less work?" At the question towards him, he shrugs. "Me? Just the usual. You know how it is to be an apprentice. Classes and chores have been keeping me relativly busy."

Linora cracks a lopsided grin, although her nose wrinkles a little in distaste. "/Like/ it here?" Then she shrugs. "It ain't so bad, I guess, 'cept for bein' cold and stuff." And the odd hours she keeps have seriously limited the number and variety of people she's met so far. "An'.. it was plenty bright when I started..." She's starting to wonder exactly how long she was dozing, actually. She pushes back the chair and gets to her feet to walk over to poke at the embers on the hearth. "I s'pose it's light out," she guesses, peering into the klah pitcher and making another face.

Rathan laughs again watching her wrinkling her nose. "Oh, you could say that," he says in response to the comment about outside. "It's been light out for a while now actually." Watching her heading to the hearth, he leans back in his chair and stretches. "While you're over there, could you get me a mug of klah please?" Turning in his chair so face her, he grins again as she explores the klah pot. Seeing her reaction, he strains a bit to see what she's seeing. "Or do I really not want any right now?"

Linora shrugs a little and fills two mugs. "I dunno," she admits. "I never think it tastes good, but you might like it." She bustles about the hearth for a moment or two, as much to wake herself up as because the movements are necessary, dumping an unholy amount of sweetener into one of the mugs. Might help, after all? Finally she returns, setting the mugs on one of the unoccupied corners of the worktable and hastily clearing off the hides and tools, stowing them in one of the cabinets below. A long sip from the sweetened mug later, she seems somewhat restored, sitting back in her chair and pushing the disheveled wisps of hair back from her forehead... and even finding a small smile for Rathan. "What do you think? If it's really lousy, I guess we can get more in the kitchen..?"

Rathan is content to just sit in his chair and watch her bustling around. As she returns to the table, he re-adjusts himself in the chair, trying to make himself comfortable. "Thanks," he says as she sets the mug down. Taking a small sip, he shrugs. "It really doesn't matter to me. I can drink any type of klah, though I have to admit that I have had some really bad ones. And this isn't exactly one of the best, but it's up to you." See, isn't he just the gentleman. Reaching out for a stray strand that she missed, he tucks it behind her ear. "There, that's better."

Linora's smile warms by several degrees at his touch. "Good." She's almost starting to sound like herself again. And she's not making faces at the nastyklah anymore. "I don't really feel like goin' downstairs." She slumps a bit in her chair, taking tiny sips from her mug until she remembers something else Rathan said. "Classes, huh? How you doing with those?"

Rathan smiles again as he sees her returning to what he considers more like her normal self. "We can stay here then," he says with a shrug as he blows across the still steaming liquid before taking another sip. "Classes? Well, they're going." That's about all he can say on that subject. "They're not exactly my favorite things. You know, studying and all." But don't let him fool you. What else does he do besides study and do his chores?

Linora lets out a sleepy little giggle. "Right," she teases. "I forgot you like t'run with the pranking crowd." More likely he's hiding in a corner of the archives. "Watch out, or you'll be an apprentice forever!" Unless he leaves, of course... but she won't mention that. She sets the mug down on the table, one hand fiddling with the handle. "Course classes are easier than this project." She peeks up at him sidelong, pale eyes sparkling. "Whatcha doin' up here anyhow? I hardly ever see ya."

Rathan gives a soft laugh at the obvious tease. "Yep, you've got me pegged." Shaking his head quickly, he continues. "I don't think you have to worry about that. I'm slowly getting up there. I'll get past this apprentice knot." Just don't ask him when. Shifting in the chair once again, he pulls his legs up under him. "Well, turns out they needed some help up here and you know me, I just couldn't say no." More like he couldn't say anything when they chose him. "But at least I get to see you," he says softly.

Okay, Lin's definitely blushing now. But she's also definitely smiling. "Yeah, I missed you and stuff," she admits... but just as quickly, she changes the subject. "How d'you like it here? Found any good places t'hide yet?" Another gentle tease, but she's also curious since she hasn't really taken the time to look around, even as many months as she's been here already. "Hyzen promised t'show me around and stuff, but I don't see her real often. Prolly she's busy with rider stuff." Whatever that might be. Lin's not really too clear on that point.

Rathan lets it go just as quickly, not even saying anything else and quickly grabbing onto the new subject. "I dunno," he replies, sticking out his tongue quickly at the obvious jab. "I really haven't been here long and have absolutly no idea of anything around here. It was hard enough just to find the Starcraft area, and I was actually looking for it." As for the rider stuff, you can bet that Rathan's even less clear.

Linora seems torn between disappointment and relief at the subject change... but it's probably safer to avoid bending those pesky apprentice rules when she's so close to promotion. Of course, she's not considering that Rathan's a good bit further from walking the tables than she is (which carries complications all its own), so her smile is bright and unworried, and she even giggles a little as Rathan pokes out his tongue. Real mature. "We oughta go look around and stuff sometime when you're not busy." Because her schedule's kind of up to her. "Specially now that the weather's getting warmer and stuff."

Rathan hasn't even considered all those different things, so in his case, ignorance is bliss. He's never been good with complications. At the giggle, he grins. If there's one thing that most people don't consider him, it's mature. "I'm always up for exploring. But let's just try to avoid any ridertypes." He's heard all about them and really has no desire to run into one, or anyone else for that matter.

Linora laughs and nods, giving up on the nastyklah completely. "Kay," she agrees immediately. See, she likes him whether he's mature or not. And even though she knows riders she'd consider friends, she can't argue the wisdom of giving most of them plenty of leeway. Particularly those green glowy-type dragons and their moody riders. "Lemme sleep a while, then, an' I'll meet you this afternoon?" The gaze she fixes on Rathan is bright and inviting, and definitely warm.

Rathan nods once before draining the rest of his klah, making a face in the process. Maybe it wasn't quite as good as he thought, and getting cold certainly didn't do anything to improve it's taste. "Sounds good to me. You look like you could use the sleep." And more than just a quick nap too. "When you're ready, just come looking for me. I'll probably be around here somewhere." Returning her smile, he rises and lets his hand briefly and lightly brush her face before giving her shoulder a quick squeeze. "I'll see you this afternoon then."

Linora of course isn't insulted by the observation, knowing perfectly well that it's completely accurate. She beams a sleepy smile up at Rathan and nods, pushing her chair back to stand as well. "Okay." With a quick wave, she disappears into the apprentice area.